What is the People’s Garden Project?
In a nutshell:
The People's Garden Project is a community garden, demonstration garden, children's garden and orchard located on 5 acres in West Louisville's Shawnee neighborhood. The community garden supports over 20 community gardeners and their families. The market garden produces over 2,000 pounds of fresh, organic, and local produce per year that is sold within West Louisville. With the completion of the greenhouses, the People's Garden project will be Louisville's first large-scale, year-round garden.
Ever heard of food deserts? What about food tundra? Even if we start community gardens all throughout the city, these gardens will not produce anything in the winter. The goal of this project is to solve that problem.
Louisville Grows has helped start over a dozen community gardens to address food security issues, but the People's Garden is the first of its kind, and a model for others to come. Be a part of history, help us meet our goal!
Since 2011, Louisville Grows has worked closely with District 5 Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton and her office, the Shawnee Neighborhood Association, and community leaders to insure that the garden reflects the needs of the Shawnee community. We have created and managed the People’s Garden with education, community building, and empowerment as the primary goals.
Who Benefits From This Project?
- Neighbors interested in increasing their access to fresh produce and spending time with other community members in a safe environment
- Community groups participating in our garden workshops and other educational programs
- Children who learn where their food comes from and about the community in which they live
- Aspiring community organizers who get to learn about the process of working with community while working in the garden
- Louisville Grows employees who get more resources to expand outreach
- The City of Louisville by becoming a healthier, greener, and more equitable city
- The next community gardens that use this project as a model for expanding the growing season
The greenhouses are seriously big. How is the community going to use these?
We are working to complete the construction of two 100 ft. X 30 ft. greenhouses. One will be used for season extension for our community gardeners and the other will be used to grow starts for backyard gardeners and community groups that would otherwise lack the funds to purchase plants. We need to raise funds to finish building the greenhouses, purchase equipment needed to get them ready for action, landscaping for the 5-acre site, and a wooden fence for our community garden. Please help support a growing project in Louisville's West End!
The community gardeners represent a large range of age groups, and have a large range of knowledge about gardening. We provide the space for gardeners to share their knowledge and partner with community experts to hold free workshops open to the community, and will do the same to teach one another how to grow in the greenhouses during the winter.
We also incorporate interns in our program and have developed a number of community partnerships that help support this project. The People's Garden project could not have gotten as far as it has without the help of Councilwoman Hamilton’s office, the Shawnee Neighborhood Association, the Mayor’s Office, the Parks Department, the Extension Office, and others.
Why Do The Greenhouses Cost So Much?
The materials used in building just one of these greenhouses can cost over $30,000! We have been blessed to have received support from the City of Louisville and other groups and to have gotten as far as we have. Now we need your help to finish the job. In order to make these greenhouses last, we need to build them right.
What Will My Dollars Fund?
- Plastic to cover the greenhouse
- Stipends for the construction crew
- Utilities for one year of operation
- A fence for the community garden
- Plants to get us started
- Seeds to start next year’s plants
- Pots for the starts
- Potting soil for the seeds
- Soil amendments for the community garden
What Will Any Additional Dollars Fund?
Have we met our goal already?! Awesome – but we still need your help. Any additional funds will help fund stipends for our interns. Once that need is met, we will use the funds to help seed the next community garden.
In August we will use the funds to purchase the last of the plastic needed to complete the greenhouses. Once this arrives the construction crew will snap into action and complete the build. By September we should be ready to start planting in the community greenhouse, and be harvesting through the winter!
The fence for the community garden will also be built in August, but the starting of the seeds for next year will not start until December or February. As soon as the starts are ready to make their way into the community, probably around March or May depending on the type of plant, they will be given to the community gardeners. You can be a part of the group that receives starts, too, if you contribute!
Valerie Magnuson, Executive Director of Louisville Grows
Valerie Magnuson was born in Louisville and there she has remained for the majority of her life. She hopes that by deepening her connection to the urban environment where she was raised she can begin to understand the ecology of the city and help our communities adapt to a changing climate. She studies urban sustainability and social change at UofL and currently serves as the Executive Director of Louisville Grows, a local non-profit committed to building community through urban agriculture and sustainable solutions.
Rachel Brunner, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator
Rachel worked with Louisville Grows and the People's Garden in 2012 as a Community Food Security Organizer through the AmeriCorps VISTA program at the Presbyterian Hunger Program. Now, as the Community Outreach and Education Coordinator, she runs the Family Garden Program, youth garden programs and workshops, supports gardeners, and connects neighbors to Louisville Grows projects. She has studied agricultural economics, sustainable agriculture, and community food systems and is passionate about creating a local and healthy food system with the residents of Louisville.
Louisville Grows’ Board of Directors:
- Brandon Coan
- Carol FInck
- Josh Jennings
- Leah Friedberg
- Mason Roberts
- Sarah Wolff
We cannot thank you enough for being a part of this project!
Risks and challenges
The hurdles we face can largely be summed up with project management challenges. There are just some things you cannot forsee. Like, the plastic ordered for you is the wrong size or the time it takes to build is much longer than expected. Lucky for you we have been building these greenhouses for a while and understand these risks.
We have set in place reasonable expectations for our builders and our supply chains. We have estimated time tables and then added 30 percent. Hopefully this will be enough to prepare ourselves, but if not we will remain flexible and continue to work on this project until it is complete.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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